Inside The Birds: Reinforcements Added; Looking At Developmental QBs
With the Eagles still trying to fill holes in free agency, Howie Roseman has made more low-risk signings to bolster the roster.
On the latest Inside The Birds podcast, Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan look at the Eagles' most recent signings, as well as some developmental options at quarterback in this year's draft.
Adam Caplan: “So let's talk about Jordan Howard. No. 1, he's absolutely not guaranteed to make the team. His role will be the same as it always has been, not a big deal it's a one-year veteran minimum deal, I don't know the exact money. But this is a guy that they know. They needed a power back; this is something that we thought they were going to do, sign a back with size. As I understand, at the start of free agency he was on their list to consider bringing back, and they never dismissed the idea of bringing him back, it's just a matter of you don't want to jump into the pool the first week of free agency, especially for a backup player. If they're signing Week 1, more than likely you're going to be paying them more than you probably would like to. So, he's back.”
Geoff Mosher: "The thing I love about these one-year veteran signings is that it should not, and I imagine it will not, preclude the Eagles from drafting a guy that they think can do the exact same thing if he's younger. And if [Howard] doesn't make the team, he doesn't make the team. It's amazing how far we've come since – what? – was it two years ago when they traded for him, and man, you had to talk some people off the ledge when the Eagles got him for a sixth-round pick, because at the time, he was like third on the league's rushing list over the last three years with like Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley and then it was him. A lot of people were like, ‘Oh my god, the Eagles just got one of the best running backs in the league,’ and I remember you and I were like, 'Calm down, he's actually not what the numbers say.' He's limited in how he's used and will be used in the Doug Pederson offense and I think now people are finally seeing that he is not a Saquon Barkley-, Ezekiel Elliott-type of running back.”
Caplan: “Here's the thing. The Eagles are going to be in 65 to 70 percent nickel. So who plays base doesn't matte. But teams do not look at who's in base as a starter, they look at who plays most snaps. That’s how you evaluate in the National Football League. Well, barring a shock Wilson will be a starting nickel linebacker because the Eagles will be a nickel team, so whoever is on the field 70 percent of the plays, they’re starting, the way you look at it.”
Mosher: “Also remember that [Jonathan] Gannon, we have been told, is going to implement the Zimmer scheme, which is based on a lot of Cover 2, a lot of Tampa 2 and a lot of inverted Tampa 2. There's a lot of Cover 3 also which has a Cover 2 look, but becomes Cover 3 when your middle linebacker in that style of defense takes the deep middle and then the safeties branch out. So that's the Eric Wilson type of role that I imagine.”
Drafting a developmental QB
Mosher: "The importance of drafting developmental quarterbacks in the later rounds, this should not be a controversial subject. Teams do this all the time. The Eagles used to do it all the time and it would benefit them, especially under Andy Reid, get a quarterback who winds up being good enough to make the team, then maybe a year or two or three later he's your backup quarterback, very cost-controlled. [If] He has to get in, plays well, you can trade them, or at the very least you keep them and you have a good backup quarterback. So I think that's why we have to talk about the importance of doing that. It's not a wasted pick. It's not a bad idea to always draft developmental quarterbacks on Day 2 or Day 3, really.”
Caplan: "I made the mistake in 2012 and said, 'Why did Washington draft Kirk Cousins?' They spent a first-round pick on Robert Griffin III but little did I know how smart that move was. I learned a valuable lesson. It's like pitching in baseball, you can't have enough pitchers, you can't have enough developmental quarterbacks. It is the Ron Wolf rule. He always would say we should draft a quarterback every year. It was more like every other year, but nevertheless, a list of Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck and the list goes on and on. So I like the idea, absolutely. Look, it didn't work with Clayton Thorson, a fifth-rounder in . OK, that doesn't mean you stop because you missed on that. That’s not the way it works. Keep on doing it, you just get it right, that's all.”
Mosher: “It did work with A.J. Feeley. It did work with Nick Foles. I mean, these guys started their careers off, made the team, became backups and then in varying degrees obviously saw some success.”
Mosher: "[Kyle] Trask. I don't know. I kind of get a weird vibe on him that he might go as early as late Round 2, but maybe more likely Round 3?"
Caplan: "I've talked to, gosh, I don’t even know how many quarterback coaches and coordinators and guys from the offensive side of the ball who graded his college tape, and he could go as you said late second round. I mean it’s the quarterback position so guys get over-drafted all the time. I think he's going to go in the third. He's not as good as I thought he was because just watching him on television tape last year when I would tape Florida games, he looked pretty good to me but it wasn't coaching tape[...] He just doesn't have a great arm; it's above average not great. He has good size but not a very good athlete and doesn't move very well. You know today's coaches man, they want guys who can move.” – Justin Morganstein (@jmotweets_) is a staff contributor to InsideTheBirds.com
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